Liverpool fans have been praised in the French Senate after making their statements on UEFA’s official inquiry into the chaos at the Stade de France Champions League final on May 28th.
Reds fans Ted Morris and Joe Blott, representatives of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association and Spirit of Shankly supporters union respectively, gave harrowing reports of the chaos leading up to the Liverpool-Real Madrid game, which the French senator and former sports minister described as “apocalyptic “ was referred to Patrick Kanner.
The head of the inquiry, Francois-Noel Buffet, clarified before the fans’ hearing began on Wednesday afternoon that “we know English football fans were not at the root of what happened,” after French Home Secretary Gérald Darmanin, the boss of the Paris police, Didier Lallement, and UEFA events chief Martin Kanner had tried in previous Senate hearings to shift the blame for the fiasco onto the fans.
Liverpool fans, including women and children, who showed up early for the game were tear-gassed by French riot police, forced into dangerous scrums outside locked turnstiles and refused entry to the stadium despite showing valid tickets.
Morris and Blott, along with Ronan Evain and Pierre Bathélemy of the democratic European supporters organization Football Supporters Europe, spent 90 minutes providing a timeline of what happened at the Stade de France and confronting politicians about the untruths that have been spread since the final.
Authority figures such as Darmanin and Sport Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra have blamed up to 30,000-40,000 tickets to Liverpool fans attempting to enter the stadium for the fans’ injuries. The figures have since been completely discredited and no politician, police official or UEFA official has produced a scrap of audiovisual evidence to support their version of events.
“I never want to go back to Paris if we are treated the same way again in the future,” Morris explained. “There have been so many lies about what happened here from those in power.
“I started getting messages saying disabled people were being tear gassed and I was scared. Some feared for their lives. It was only thanks to the great behavior of Liverpool fans that a catastrophe could be averted. Nobody in power came to help disabled fans.
Morris went on to give examples of specific trauma suffered by disabled Liverpool fans.
“A 14-year-old disabled fan has burns from the effects of tear gas,” Morris said. “He went to the game with his father and was excited but scared. There was one disabled fan who attended the game with his elderly father. He was attacked by a gang of locals and his belongings were stolen.’
“Men, women and children with disabilities have received shocking treatment. They were treated like animals. This is a disgrace to the authorities. Gérald Darmanin shamed France and the French government. His lies made things a lot worse. He should apologize or resign. His lies reminded us of those after Hillsborough. He should be ashamed.”
For Blott, the police used dangerous prejudice to plan their strategy for the event.
“Liverpool fans have traveled across Europe this season, to Spain, Portugal and Italy, with no arrests, no known at-risk supporters, no pre-emptive arrests and no evictions from stadiums,” he explained. “Over 25,000 fans have shown exemplary behavior throughout the season. Why was Liverpool fans’ good behavior ignored? Police stuck in 1980s believing lies about Hillsborough disaster.’
“The hooligans that French police spent months preparing for from Liverpool simply do not exist. They didn’t change tactics when hooligans didn’t arrive, instead treating families, children and people with disabilities like criminals.”
Blott ended his testimony by demanding that the truth be proven by the French Senate and that those who lied about what happened at the Stade de France face consequences.
“We demand a full apology and a retraction of the lies,” he said.
Chairman Buffet thanked Liverpool fans for taking the time to travel to Paris to give their testimony in person and made insightful comments.
“Thank you to Joe Blott and Ted Morris for coming to address the Senate,” the senator said. “Your testimony is very important to us. What happened to you is unacceptable.’
The Senate investigation continues with an unknown end date, but empathy and gratitude to fans will revitalize those in Liverpool and around the world who were shocked and appalled by attempts by French authorities to shift blame.
For more stories like this, Visit our sports page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/21/liverpool-fans-praised-by-french-senate-as-reds-supporters-demand-apology-over-stade-de-france-fiasco-16868182/ Liverpool fans praised by French Senate as Reds supporters demand apology for Stade de France fiasco | Soccer